If your 1 year old is as car/bus/train crazy as our one year old, you might have found yourself wondering whether it’s worth getting a ride-on toy to keep them busy. Ride on toys can be great for improving balance skills, motor skills, strengthening your little one’s muscles, and having a lot of fun, too. We’ve rounded up the best ride on toys for 1 year old zoomers!
We did the research into the best toddler ride on toys, with a focus on younger toddlers from around 1-year-old. We came up with this list of what we consider to be worth the money.
For our family, we think the Little Baby Bum (LBB) Wheels on the Bus Scoot and Pewi Walk on Riding Toy are the best options. We love the Wheels on the Bus scoot because our daughter loves LBB and the bus songs. And we love the Pewi Y-Bike because of how it will support our daughter’s physical development.
However, we know not all toddlers are complete bus nuts. For that reason, we think the Little Tikes Push and Ride Racer is the best overall ride-on toy for 1 year olds. For most families, it offers great bang for buck and will serve your child for a couple of years, using it first as a push-walker until your child is ready to straddle the toy and push it forward with their feet.
If you’re looking for a more traditional tricycle with a push handle or without, we’ve also written about that – just not in this article!
The Best Riding Toys for 1 Year Olds
Here are all the toys we considered, with more information about each below.
- Best Overall Walker to Rider – Little Tikes Push and Ride Racer
- Runner Up (Walker to Rider)– Fisher Price 3 in 1 Smart Car
- Best Ride-on Bike for Toddlers – Pewi Walk on Riding Toy
- Runner Up (Ride-on Bike for Toddlers) – Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll N Trike
- Great for Encouraging Imaginative Driving Play – Step2 Whisper Ride
- Suitable for Young Babies Too – Fisher Price Stride to Ride Puppy
- Good for Older Toddlers – Little Tikes Cozy Coupe
- Best Ride On Bus Toy – Little Baby Bum Wheels on the Bus Scoot
- Top Pick for Thomas the Train Fans – Power Wheels Thomas and Friends
- Best Choice for Mickey Fans – Mickey and Friends Activity Ride on Toy
- Best Playground Toy – Little Tikes Whale Teeter Totter
Best Overall Walker to Rider
Little Tikes’ Push and Ride Racer is a push and ride kids car with a low seat, giving your toddler easy on-and-off access to ride. The low height also means it won’t tip over easily.
When your child uses it in “push mode,” the seat back is high enough to comfortable grab on, helping your child maintain balance while working towards those first few steps.
At less than seven pounds, this product is good choice for at home and taking to the park or playground. The sturdy handle and wheels make it a breeze to maneuver around furniture or the playground, and on tile, carpet or grass. It holds up to 50 pounds, making it a toy your child can use as she grows.
Suitable for kids from about 9 months to 3 years.
Runner Up (Walker to Rider)
As your child grows, this ride-on toy is designed to offer different levels of educational content through sounds, songs, and phrases in English and Spanish. Your child will be exposed to the alphabet, numbers, opposites, and more. The interactive dashboard has a wheel that turns, a horn that honks, and numerous buttons that light up.
The battery-operated Smart Car has plastic wheels that can glide on hardwood floors, carpeted surfaces, and grass. It is best suited for children aged nine months to three years.
Best Ride-on Bike for Toddlers
The PEWI Walk On Riding Toy is a fun alternative to a peddle-less push bike or scooter. It has a foam-padded seat and easy-grip plastic handles. The rotating wheels allow the toy to be pushed in any direction without leaving marks on your floors. And the “Y” design has a narrower wheelbase in the back, allowing enough legroom for older kids, and a wide front base for stability.
The lightweight aluminum frame allows it to come in at under 4 pounds and makes it versatile for transport. It’s available in pink, blue, or red, and is suited to level, smooth surfaces indoors or out.
Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll N Trike
Runner Up (Ride-on Bike for Toddlers)
This ride-on toy starts out as an infant trike, suitable for 9 to 18-month olds. A canopy keeps the sun out off their face, and a footrest, seatback, safety tray, cup holder and three-point harness ensure safety and comfort for the littlest riders.
As your toddler grows, you can remove the canopy, footrest and tray, and adjust the seat heights to convert this ride-on toy to a steering trike (18 months to 2 years), learn-to-ride trike (2 to 3 years), and classic trike (3+).
The trike also changes from parent steering to child steering by removing a parent push bar.
If your toddler hates sitting in their buggy, this could be a good alternative to get them into a seat so you can run errands or get from Point A to B.
The product weighs about 16 pounds and, with its wide rear tires, is intended for use outdoors.
Best for Imaginative Driving Play
Step2 ride-on kids cars have some fun features of a real car so your little one enjoys a semi-realistic driving experience. They can spin the steering wheel and honk the horn. There’s space in the dashboard and under the front hood for snacks and small toys. And the headlights, tires, bumper, and grill all add to the cuteness of this push car for toddlers.
The push handle is a good height for the average man or woman and has a cupholder for mom or dad’s coffee or drink.
Available in pink or blue, this push car is recommended for children up to 50 pounds and between the ages of 18 months and four years. The safety belt will keep your child snug. The steering wheel turns but, because it’s not connected to the wheels, so your child can not inadvertently steer the product.
Best for Young Babies
With a flip of its hinged seat, the Fisher Price Stride To Ride Puppy converts from a rider to a walker. The cuddle-worthy face moves around, the soft floppy ears wiggle and the nose and collar light up as your child pushes or scoots. The toy will also play sounds, utter phrases, speak greetings, and teach manners in English and Spanish.
For babies who aren’t walking, the product has a shape sorter and big, easy-to-press buttons to help them stay entertained. The plastic wheels make it suitable for indoors or outdoors.
As the wheels aren’t great at turning, this toy is probably best suited to older babies and younger toddlers.
Best for Older Toddlers
At less than 18 pounds, this ride-on kids car can be pushed or pulled using the handle at back. The car-like features include a driver’s side door that opens, ignition, gas cap, steering wheel, and cup holders. You’ll appreciate the front wheels that rotate 360 degrees for easy maneuvering.
When the floor is removed, your toddler can use foot power to get around. Older kids may enjoy storing snacks and toys in the rear. The car is appropriate for children less than 50 pounds and under the age of five. Much bigger than this, and the fit may be too snug.
Best Ride On Bus Toy
This ride-on bus / car for babies has many real bus features. These include a steering wheel, ignition switch, and turn signals that light up. Your child is sure to enjoy the animated face, which has moving eyes and wiggling windshield wiper eyebrows. With a push of a button, your child can enjoy some of LBB’s most popular songs. Sing along to Wheels On The Bus, 10 Little Buses, and the Color Bus song. Storage under the seat provides space for snacks and toys.
This bus starts out as a push walker, and transitions to a ride-on toy when your little one is ready. The car is recommended for children less than 50 pounds and between one and three years old.
Battery operated, it weighs 8 pounds.
Best Ride On Train Toy
This ride-on train toy accommodates one rider at a time and is powered by a long-lasting rechargeable six-volt battery. Your toddler can easily control the train with the push-button on and off control. The train also has an easy-grip handle and footrest.
Kids as young as 12 months can round the tracks, and older kids can use the train as a stand-alone rider. Your toddler can listen to the unique sounds and sayings of Thomas as she rounds the tracks or living room.
The train can reach a maximum of one mile per hour on the track and two miles per hour without the track. The tracks can be set up on any indoor flat surface.
Best for Mickey Fans
This car-like ride-on toy has many attributes of a real car, like a working steering wheel, an ignition key that “turns on” the engine, and a horn that honks. Your toddler can turn the colorful gears on the front of the car, press the keyboard to play music, and pretend to make calls on the play phone.
The tires have good grip, making the car suitable for indoors and outdoors. The seat also has a fair amount of storage space underneath for putting snacks, layers, and other toys.
This toy is battery-operated, and appropriate for a child one year or older.
Best Playground Toy
A fun twist on car ride on toys, this whale teeter totter is adorable and fun! With eyes on its head and a tail, this product resembles a cute sea creature. It has handles that are easy to hold onto and footrests wide enough for even older kids up to 50 pounds. This sturdy toy can be used indoors or outdoors. Together with an outdoor swing, it makes a great at-home playground addition.
The product weighs around 1.2 pounds, making it easy to move around your house or transport in the car. It’s made from a single piece of plastic, so you don’t have to worry about pinched fingers or trapped hands from moving parts.
How to Choose From the Best Toddler Ride On Toys
What Exactly are Riding Toys for 1 Year Olds?
Most one-year-olds aren’t even walking yet, which begs the question: why on earth do they need a riding toy? It’s a fair question, but one we think
While riding toys for older kids are more geared (see what I did there?) towards imaginative and independent play – something kids can do all by themselves – ride-ons and cars for babies usually require a bit more parent involvement, and generally are more flexibly to meet your child’s needs as they grow and blow past developmental milestones of the age group, like going from a crawler to a walker.
Of the 11 ride on toys on our list, an impressive 9 are highly convertible as your child grows and becomes more independent. A full 6 of the toys on our list work both as a push walker (something your little one can hold on to and push as they work towards the strength and coordination needed for unsupported steps) and a ride-on toy: Little Tikes Push and Ride Racer, Fisher Price Stride to Ride Puppy, Fisher Price 3 in 1 Smart Car, Pewi Walk on Riding Toy, Mickey and Friends Activity Ride on Toy, and Little Baby Bum Wheels on the Bus Scoot.
This offers parents great bang-for-buck, as most of these toys will last your child from those first few supported steps until they’re three or so.
What are the Benefits of a Ride On Toy for Toddlers?
To start with, ride on toys are a lot of fun, and will give your child a sense of freedom, especially once they’re able to “drive” their own special car for kids by themselves (while supervised, of course).
Additionally, these types of toys can help your child:
- Develop leg and core strength
- Improve their gross motor skills by using their feet to propel the car forward, using it as a walker, etc
- Tune their fine motor skills by using the dials and buttons that come along with many models
- Grasp relationships between their actions and the results of those, using it as a cause and effect toy
- Engage in imaginative play at driving, similar to when playing with steering wheel toys
What to Consider When Purchasing Ride-On Toys for Toddlers?
As any parent who has been on the receiving end of their toddler’s out-of-the-blue temper tantrum can attest, toddlers are very special. On the one hand, they know they can do so many things, and they want to try it all. On the other hand, they’re not equipped to handle a lot of those things yet.
As parents, we try to walk the fine line between allowing our toddler to take “controlled risks” and keeping her safe. And ride-on toys are absolutely perfect for this!
So what do you need to think about if you’re considering a riding toy for your little one?
- Size: This one’s pretty self explanatory, but if your little one is on the shorter end of the spectrum, they may not be able to reach the floor on some traditional ride-ons that require they straddle a seat, like a bike.
- Core Strength: It takes toddlers awhile to develop their core strength enough to be able to stay sitting up (and not get knocked over) when in motion. If this is a concern, get one of the ride-on toys with a seat back, to ensure your little one is stable and supported.
- Safety: This, of course, is of primary concern. Be sure to read the manufacturers instructions and warnings before use, and only use the toy as intended and according to instructions and guidelines. We recommend inspecting it before every use to ensure screws are tight and the toy is safe to use.
- Challenge vs Fun: In our opinion, all the ride-on toys in this list can be a lot of fun! However, some will provide more imaginative play (for example, the more realistic-looking Step2 Whisper Ride car) and some will provide more physical challenge (for example, Pewi Walk on Riding Toy). As a parent, it’s up to you to decide what you want to focus on, and choose from the best ride-on toys for your little one.
We love this list of ride-on toys, because there are a ton of great options here. If you’re stills stuck for deciding on the best, here’s what we suggest:
- For a bike or bike-like alternative, we recommend the Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll N Trike or the Pewi Walk on Riding Toy bike.
- If you want playground-at-home experience, get the Little Tikes Whale Teeter Totter and pair it with an outdoor swing for babies!
- Families who want a convertible push-walker to ride-on toy should consider the Little Tikes Push and Ride Racer, Fisher Price Stride to Ride Puppy, Fisher Price 3 in 1 Smart Car, Mickey and Friends Activity Ride on Toy, and Little Baby Bum Wheels on the Bus Scoot.
We hope our research helps you decide. If you know another parent, grandparent, or caregiver who wants to get their little one a ride-on toy, we hope you’ll share this list!